Northrop Grumman is making progress on upgrading the Boeing E-8 joint surveillance target attack radar system (JSTARS), a Boeing 707 with a side-looking infrared radar underneath.
In August, the first aircraft operationally deployed with the enhanced land and maritime (ELM) modification, which manufacturer Northrop says greatly increases radar precision.
Flight tests are also being conducted with the prime mission equipment diminishing manufacturing sources (PME DMS) modification and JSTARS radar modernization (JSRM).
PME DMS, upgrades the operating system to Linux, and provides increased computing power, in addition to larger displays and a new signal processor. Northrop expects the project to be deployed operationally in early 2014.
JSRM is a congressionally-mandated demonstration programme, an update to the radar sensors. The programme, which has been funded by congressional fiat, is not included in the FY 2013 budget. Without intervention, the programme is likely to end.